Everyone loves something for free, and free desserts and sides have become a commonplace offer to bring people into restaurants. Whether used as offers in adverts and competitions, or simply to bring people in on slower business days, they have been a reliable up sell and a great way to make customers feel appreciated.  

Currently, people are dealing with many serious issues caused by rising inflation, which is a great problem for both restaurant and takeaway businesses. Therefore it is becoming necessary to find more ways of bringing people into the restaurant and possibly up selling to increase profit.

Whilst paid advertising to reach new audiences on social media can be useful, your most reliable customers are the regulars who already follow you online, and offers and deals are a great way to let people know you care about them, whilst also being a bribe to come in and visit you.

Advertising is not always easy to measure, but when you have a special deal that can only be seen on a specific platform, you will know when customers come in to claim it and you will be able to figure out what is actually working to bring customers in for your business.

When it comes to making an offer, time management is incredibly important, and in a busy kitchen, efficiency is integral to ensuring customers are served in good time and that the focus of the chefs is on making sure orders are produced in a timely manner.

This is why after working with many restaurants and running many advertising campaigns and promotions, it makes a lot of sense to me to offer free drinks rather than sides or desserts. The main reason is time. It takes only a few seconds to pour a drink and clean a glass, whereas some sides and desserts can take up a lot of the chef’s time, potentially causing issues with other orders, increasing stress on the staff, and ultimately damaging the dining experience of other customers. That’s not to mention the time taken to wash up extra dishes, which ultimately applies unnecessary pressure to everyone – especially if the restaurant becomes unnaturally busy. 

The most efficient way of offering free drinks that I have found is offering a free drink with every main course, and then one for every time the customer orders a starter and a dessert. You can restrict these to non alcoholic soft drinks such as carbonated drinks and cordials to stop people from playing havoc with expensive wines. 

This way, you can offer an excellent freebie that’s quick to pour and clean and won’t get in the way of the flow of the restaurant, and if people are coming in for the free drinks, you’ve got customers who most likely wouldn’t have come in otherwise.

Offers like this can be set to certain days, usually a slow day like a Wednesday or Thursday is a good opportunity to see if you can get more people in with such an offer. This way you can see if you are getting more customers in pretty easily, as you will have more tables booked in than usual.

This is just one of the many ways to bring more people into your restaurant, and a great way to increase monthly profits. 


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